Looking for the best bars in Edinburgh? Explore our favourite bars and pubs. Whether you're looking for a dram beside a cosy fire, an exotic cocktail in a stylish bar or a friendly haunt to enjoy a craft beer, you are sure to find something in Edinburgh which will tantalise your tastebuds.
Below we have listed a mere snapshot of just some of the best bars in Edinburgh, covering a mix of Edinburgh institutions and new kids on the block. We hope you're feeling thirsty...
City Centre Bars
Edinburgh's city centre and New Town is absolutely bursting with cocktail bars and cosy pubs. Head to George Street to enjoy a classy cocktail, or go to Rose Street and enjoy some famous Scottish hospitality in one of the area's friendly pubs.
The Raging Bull
161 Lothian Rd, Edinburgh EH3 9AA
Located on Lothian Road, this cosy bar is inspired by the eccentric yet good natured fellow, The Raging Bull and his friends. As you walk through the door, directly to your left hangs a mural of The Bull himself drinking with his lady back in the 1920’s. He has become accustomed to drinking his cocktails in comfortable and stylish surroundings.
Expect rustic walls, marble tables, natural foliage and walls adorned with pictures of the handsome Bull when you visit. Make sure you try one of their famous coffee cocktails!
The Bon Vivant
55 Thistle Street, Edinburgh EH2 1DY
Recently nominated for the Spirited Awards, the most prestigious competition in the global drinks industry calendar, The Bon Vivant (Thistle St) is the FIRST Scottish restaurant bar to ever be nominated for an award in the competition's seven year history.
With an ever-changing cocktail list, a broad and accessible champagne list, a comprehensive wine list and a gantry stocked full of classic and rare spirits, it's easy to see why.
The Bon Vivant takes a unique approach to its wine list by offering all 44 wines by the 175ml glass, 500ml carafe or by the bottle. They also conduct blind tastings with customers, promoting smaller boutique wines and more unheard of varieties. Definitely worth a visit.
The Voodoo Rooms
19a West Register Street, Edinburgh EH2 2AA
The Voodoo Rooms is a bar, restaurant and venue located in the heart of city, tucked away just off Princes St and St Andrew Square (on the block behind the Apple Store). Often described by Edinburgh locals as a hidden gem, it has won a stack of awards since opening.
The public bar is open from every day and is known particularly for classic cocktails, cutting-edge mixes, rums and tequilas. Food is served in the dining room and bar until 10pm daily. The building has several venues which host a variety of ticketed events throughout the year - check their website for details.
3-5 Rose Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PR
Located on Edinburgh’s iconic Rose Street, The Abbotsford is very much an Edinburgh classic. The bar’s vintage Island Bar is very much at the heart of the bustling atmosphere on offer, not to mention the fantastic range of Scottish cask ales, the finest malt whisky and imported beers. If you fancy a traditional Edinburgh bar, look no further.
Panda & Sons
79 Queen Street, Edinburgh EH2 4NF
Hidden under a guise of a vintage barber shop in Edinburgh's New Town, Panda & Sons is one of the quirkiest things to arrive in the capital. Led by the award-winning bartender Iain McPherson, this prohibition style speakeasy fused with vintage barber shop offers some of the most innovative cocktails in town.
For even more inspiration, check out our guide to the top cocktail bars in Edinburgh.
107 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 3ES
Follow the floral stairs down from George Street to Copper Blossom, and you'll be greeted with dainty decor, mouthwatering food and an elegant cocktail menu with lots of tempting concoctions to choose from.
In the summer, you can sit in their outside area which offers glimpses of Edinburgh Castle, so you can enjoy a refreshing cocktail while taking in the marvellous view.
20 Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 2AN
Talking of bars with a view: Juniper on Princes Street also offers a fantasic vista of the city, taking in the mighty Scott Monument and beautiful Balmoral Hotel. Supping a cocktail while watching the Edinburgh shoppers go by is the perfect way to spend an afternoon in the capital.
If you really want to try something really special, try one of their cocktails served with dry ice for a real Instagrammable treat. The 'Strawberries and Steam' sharing cocktail is particularly worth a try.
The Permit Room
3a St Andrew Square, Edinburgh EH2 2BD
Welcome to The Permit Room. Its name recalls the Bombay Prohibition Act of 1949, which states that all tipplers are required to have a permit to consume alcohol (if only ‘for preservation and maintenance of one’s health’).
Hidden beneath the kitchen of Dishoom, The Permit Room pays charming homage to the best Bombay tradition of Parsi theatre and is a space dedicated to good cheer, great music and the most delicious and sincere tipples.
Open every evening from 5pm until 1am (3am Friday - Saturday), reservations are available for groups of up to 12 guests from 9pm until 12:00am Sunday - Thursday and 9pm until 2am Friday - Saturday. Walk-ins are welcome from 5pm. For reservations, please email email@example.com.
West End Bars
While this area is often overlooked, Edinburgh's West End is absolutely bursting with hidden gems. Get off the beaten track and discover your new favourite haunt in one of the capital's most charming neighbourhoods.
Whighams Wine Cellar
13 Hope Street, Edinburgh EH2 4EL
Every inch an Edinburgh classic, offering a skilful balance between historic features and contemporary class, it’s little wonder Whighams has been around since 1983.
Whighams is located just off Charlotte Square, on the site of early 19th century cellars and offering a notable selection of wines, champagnes and real ales, served in authentic and relaxing surroundings. This Edinburgh bar is a favourite with the locals.
26 William Street, Edinburgh EH3 7NH
Teuchters Bar is well-known venue with Edinburgh's rugby fans, thanks to its handy location for Murrayfield Stadium and Haymarket train station. The pub has a huge whisky selection, boasting around 90 single malts. Feeling adventurous? Have a go with their 'hoop of destiny', Teuchter's famous hoopla game with the chance to win some whisky for yourself!
Rugby fan? Take a look at our round up of the best bars in Edinburgh to watch the Rugby.
The Voyage of Buck
29-31 William Street, Edinburgh EH3 7NH
Step inside The Voyage of Buck and be transported to the early 1900’s and home of philanthropist, polo player and world traveller William “Buck” Clarence.
The cocktail and food menus at this curious establishment have been inspired by Buck's extensive travels to Paris, Taipei, Cairo and Havana, resulting in a unique and exciting offering. They also have a wide range of wines and a selection of craft beers available on rotation.
Heads and Tales
1a Rutland Place, Edinburgh EH1 2AD
A must for every gin fan, Heads and Tales is the flagship bar for the famous Edinburgh Gin. This intimate bar has its very own gin distillery, where you can learn about the art of gin distilling and even make a special batch of your own recipe to take home.
If you don't have time to fit in a full distillery tour, you can still show your creative side with their Gin It Yourself (G.I.Y) menu. Create your very own unique cocktail by selecting your glass, mixer, garnish and serve.
Want to discover more of the city's gin scene? Read our round up of the best gin bars in Edinburgh.
39a Queensferry Street, Edinburgh EH2 4RA
Tucked just off Queensferry Street you'll find the hip and funky Foundry 39. This friendly establishment has a wide range of exciting cocktails to try, as well as an extensive food menu boasting sourdough pizzas and dirty burgers.
This is a great place to go whether you're looking for a casual drink or a full-on proper feed.
Old Town & Grassmarket Bars
Full of winding streets and steeped in history, you'll not struggle to find a decent watering hole in Edinburgh's Old Town. Explore the intimate closes and find some of Edinburgh's best kept secrets...
The Devil’s Advocate
9 Advocate's Close, Edinburgh EH1 1ND
The Devil’s Advocate is a cosy but stylish bar tucked away on Advocate’s Close, a gem hidden in plain sight just off the Royal Mile.This bar and restaurant focuses on serving up the best local and seasonal produce, and has over 100 whiskies to choose from behind the bar.
Love whisky? Read our guide to the Top 10 Best Whisky Bars in Edinburgh.
143 Cowgate, Edinburgh EH1 1JS
Located in the heart of Edinburgh’s old town, this bar is anything but old-fashioned. The styling is industrial featuring exposed brick and stainless steel but fret not, the atmosphere is warm and lively as residents and visitors flock to sample the now world renowned, headline grabbing beer. Perhaps unsurprisingly the beer offering is vast and not just from the brand itself, which can be sampled in a range of measures.
If you're closer to Edinburgh's West End, BrewDog is still not too far away. They recently opened a second location on the corner Festival Square, perfect for grabbing a craft beer after a show at the nearby Usher Hall.
George IV Bar
54 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EJ
Located on the historical George IV Bridge in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, George IV Bar is a traditional Scottish public house bursting with charm and character.
They are open every day from 11am – 1am serving a wide and varied selection of drinks including over 100 different whiskies, a selection of assorted craft ales and sumptuous cocktails. They also provide a diverse menu of classic ‘pub grub’, with ingredients sourced locally and an array of mouthwatering dishes.
25 Forrest Road, Edinburgh EH1 2QH
"Purveyors of fine ales and spirits. Home of world renowned folk music." – The line above the door sums up what Sandy Bell’s is all about admirably. The bar, which is located on Forrest Road, is small but what it lacks in square footage it makes up for in character.
Sandy Bell’s is held in high esteem by residents, students, visitors, generally all walks of life as it’s best known not only for excellent ales and spirits but for its live folk music, which comes in many forms every night of the week (twice on a Sunday).
1 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1AD
Located on the Radisson Collection hotel just of the Royal Mile, Epicurean serves aromatic infusions and colourful cocktails using home grown flowers and herbs from its very own EvoGro hyrdoponic.
This chic and vibrant bar provides a true taste of Scotland with a fantastic selection of Scottish spirits and Malts, in addition to having some of the best mixologists in town shaking and stirring up the finest cocktails.
4-7 North Bank Street, Edinburgh EH1 2LP
With over 280 whiskies to choose from, Whiski Rooms is an absolute must for any whisky fanatic. Explore their collection and choose your favourite from one of the biggest malt selections in the city.
If you fall in love with a particular dram, you can take home a bottle or two from their on-site whisky shop.
Stockbridge is one of Edinburgh's most exciting neighbourhoods. Walk 10-15 minutes north of the city centre and you'll be rewarded with some of the city's favourite pubs and bars.
The Last Word Saloon
44 St Stephen Street, Edinburgh EH3 5AL
Coming to you from the same very talented people who brought us Bramble and Lucky Liquor Co., The Last Word Saloon on St Stephen Street combines effortless cool and quirky style (think paraffin lamps and taxidermy) with its slightly hidden away charm.
Like its sister venues, the cocktails are hugely impressive but The Last Word Saloon also provide an extensive selection of small batch spirits, wines and craft beers whilst also experimenting with techniques and ingredients to create truly unique mixers, syrups and bitters, which are all made in-house.
[Image credit: The Last Word Saloon]
47-49 Deanhaugh Street, Edinburgh EH4 1LR
Hector’s on Deanhaugh Street describes itself as ‘an eclectic mix of upbeat city pub and warm, friendly village local’, and who are we to disagree?
The bar is an established favourite with locals, be it for a post-work pint or a relaxed Sunday thirst-quencher. Ales, craft beers, ciders or homemade house tipples – Hector's have something for everyone (and their dug).
The Bailie Bar
2-4 St Stephen Street, Edinburgh EH3 5AL
Sitting on the corner of St Stephen’s Street and North West Circus Place, The Bailie Bar is every bit a part of the Stockbridge community as its cobbled streets. The cosy, traditional basement bar is the location of many local events from weekly quiz nights to the famous annual duck race(!). This hub of community activity paired with a very fine selection of Scottish cask ales and an open fire makes for a very fine choice.
Read more about Edinburgh's Cosy Pubs >
Located to the north of the city, Leith has a thriving bar and pub scene that is well worth exploring. This exciting area of Edinburgh is easily accessible thanks to a 10 minute bus ride, meaning that a great night out in Leith is even closer than you think.
The Carriers Quarters
42 Bernard Street, Edinburgh EH6 6PR
This cosy landmark bar can be found on Bernard Street at The Shore. The bar is famous for its history (the oldest unaltered one in Leith, dating back to 1785) as it is for its steak pies (they sell out quickly!). Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon pint or a lively music session of a weekend – The Carriers Quarters is perfectly unpretentious and as traditional as they come.
[Image credit: Carriers Quarters]
229 Leith Walk, Edinburgh EH6 8NY
Located on Leith Walk, Boda was the first bar to be setup from husband and wife Anna and Mike Christopherson who now own a raft of Swedish themed bars included Hemma, Joeseph Pearce's, Sofi's and Victoria.
Boda epitomizes the ethos of all bars in that it is designed as a destination bar, with the local community at its centre. As well as offering a range of premium spirits, beers and ciders the bar regularly holds diverse events such as jogging clubs, knitting, baking and clothes swaps to encourage locals to patronize throughout week.
44a Constitution Street, Edinburgh EH6 6RS
Nobles Café Bar and Restaurant is a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike. This atmospheric neighbourhood pub, with stained-glass windows and cosy decor, is full of old world charm and modern twists.
If you're feeling hungry, be sure to pop along and try one of their sumptuous weekend brunches, made with the best local ingredients.
[Image credit: Nobles]
The Lioness of Leith
21-25 Duke Street, Edinburgh EH6 8HH
This old-style Victorian pub just off Leith Links has recently been brought bang up to date with a funky makeover. Its modern art and stylish twists have firmly re-established it as a cult favourite in the area.
Earlier this year they added Lioness Burgers to their repetoire, offering real gourmet burgers to the people of Leith.
Got your own favourite bars in Edinburgh you'd like to recommend? Then let us know who you would nominate as your "Best Bars in Edinburgh" on Twitter @edinburgh.
This is Edinburgh: Helping you make the most of the best bars in Edinburgh.